Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Get up outta your seats!

 Went to see Pink Martini at the Gaillard the other night.

Had enjoyed them before, right after we had elected a new Mayor.

He was invited to come up and play a song on the piano and later led a Conga Line through the gorgeous place!


That time I did not fall in line behind the Mayor but I did send him a photo and received a thank you on his City letterhead.

I decided to take a "selfie" as we waited for the show to begin.

Remembering my missed opportunity before, I hoped I could get more involved with the 10-piece band.

Boy, did I ever!

Shortly after they started, an invitation was issued to "the ladies in the audience" to come onstage to dance a number.

Many accepted the offer and streamed up the steep steps on each side.

I hoped there would be a chance for us guys to also climb up there.

A bit later, another offer was made for couples to come up and dance behind the band - a much larger space - so up I went.

The view from the stage was great.

I liked being behind - and among -  the band for some outtasight angles as they played.

Pink Martini's lead singer Storm Large belted out several tunes as we admired the scene from her viewpoint.

A fun, special offer that was gladly accepted.
I can't ever recall being onstage in such a beautiful setting.

Not that I am onstage that often.

Once, years ago, while chairing a tourism conference in Missouri in a small hall, I tapped the mic and said: "Ahem, can you hear me in the back?"

A male voice loudly bellowed from a curtain behind me "Yeah, yes I can."


It was really cool to look at the musicians and the audience in the huge hall from a VERY different viewpoint.

The drummer caught my eye and I trained my phone cam on him.

I shuffled around in my stage right corner, peeked into the curtained wings and soaked in a satisfying moment.

I HAVE been backstage at the Music Farm, coming down the stairs from the Greenroom where the performers had idled and peeked onstage.

But, no "peeking" this time. Right out there among them!

And, yes, the "traditional" Conga line invitation later was announced and the audience members queued up and filled the aisles.

Eventually, they ended up crisscrossing the stage.

Maybe a Mayor was needed to organize and lead the bouncing, swaying procession?

Needless to say, that audience-involved activity was the finale of the show.

It was easier than usual to exit and head to my car.

Here are some additional photos from that delightful evening.

(Click on the links and photos for more details.)




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Sunday, January 28, 2018

End of the year!

The Christmas holiday and New Year's Eve (NYE),  are bookends for the year.

Well, at least, the last of one year and the first of the new one.

A December 25 treat for my cat was a toy I found online that fascinates her.

It actually lives up to the excited hype that describes "hours of fun for kitty."

Well, more like short stretches of a few minutes, but she does keep coming back for more.

These impulse buys don't always work out this good.

Still in the holiday mood,  I try to attend the annual NYE (New Year's Eve) "drop in" held downtown for the year's crop of retirees at the Post and Courier, at the paper's offices downtown on Columbus Street.

A nice buffet - with cake - is set up in the paper's large Conference Room on EOY (End Of Year) as close as possible to New Year's Eve.

I worked at the paper only 8 years as opposed to retirees I chat with at this event each year who were there 30 - 40 years or more.

The event is held from 1 pm to 3 pm so I usually opt for the photographer's reserved spot when I see it is empty.

Old habits die hard as I remember being a staff photographer for the San Deigo Union-Tribune Metro daily in southern California back in the 1960s. We were known to park anywhere we wanted when covering breaking news and deadlines were approaching!

I took my annual tour of the building and on the 3rd floor, walked out of the cafeteria to get a view of the back of the buildings going up at the Courier Square.

That was a new scene from the outdoor dining area.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for stopping by.

Please come by again. I'll be here.




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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Thinking outside of the (pizza) box...

 Joan Perry, a longtime friend - and fellow blogger - notified me about a new catering service being introduced by Mellow Mushroom.

She and I both were going to a "preview" at the Mellow's Avondale store to see what new food treats they would be offering along with their famed pizzas.

This store was converted a few years ago from a community movie theater. It's long and narrow and there still is a balcony upstairs above the entrance.

The balcony has comfortable table seating and a semi-circle table had been set up with a tasty array of the new catering menu.

Salads to the left and sandwiches to the right. I happened to be standing near the table as Karen Tassinari, Director of Catering, came over to open the neatly arranged covered boxes of samples.

She smiled and said, "You are at the front of the line."

I picked up a plate and followed her as she opened and described the contents of soups, signature salads, and sandwiches.

Kaen's card says she oversees catering there, King Street, North Charleston and Summerville.

Joan arrived as I sat at the table, looking over my choices.

She picked her favorites and came back to sit next to me and we compared our plates. We each chose a glass of the house red wine.

I said the baby kale, mixed with young spinach salad was tasty.

Joan said she had won a raffle recently and Mellow Mushroom provided a diverse catered lunch for 25 of her hospital volunteers at Roper-St. Francis.

Joan made it a first-come group because she had many more volunteers.

I was pleased she had notified me of this preview in Avondale.

I noticed a gentleman seated nearby who seemed to be answering questions about the foods. When I introduced myself, I found he was Todd LeBlanc, the chef who had designed the foods, in from Mellow Mushrooms's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

Joan told Todd about the 25-person lunch that was catered and how pleased she was to have won the drawing. He thanked her for her interest in doing a follow-up to the source.

We all agreed this was a much better week to have such event rather than earlier during our ice and snow storm.





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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Winter Weather in the Lowcountry..

We watched on tv as the icy, snow-laden weather streamed down from Canada.

It happens every year and we were somewhat smug that it usually doesn't come this far south.

I mean, we are described as "sub-tropic" and we have palm trees.

My yard has almost a dozen of them.

How South can you get?! Miami-like.

Oh, I heeded the drastic warnings and dire forecasts.

Oh boy, did I!

I realized my plants needed to be tended to.

Last year I had purchased a simple, $50 clear, plastic hothouse online from Amazon, just in case I ever needed to protect my smaller deck plants.

A l00-watt incandescent light bulb could be plugged in if additional heat protection was needed.
There was a brief - but heavy - snowfall in February 2014.

That reminded me that in 2010, Wallaby was my cat when we had some snow. He was an outside cat and he itched to go check this.

Wallaby galloped bravely down the snow-covered front steps and quickly realized this was NOT the "outside" he remembered.

He was out only a few minutes and raced back up the stairs, giving me a look that he did not appreciate whatever joke I was trying to pull! I think he also wanted longer legs.

With that quickly melting snowfall, things improved overnight, the palm trees popped back up as the snow melted and the silly Wallaby cat was ready - and eager - to be outside again.

The weathermen mentioned that previous brief snow - and the one in Hugo Year 1989 -  but warned this was a Snowmagedden Storm and we needed to make sure faucets were dripping and cross our fingers that the power (and heat!) did not go out when ice burdened limbs and power lines snapped.

This storm started late Tuesday with rain.

Lots of it, freezing as it hit the ground. I draped a sheet over the exposed plants and switched on the warming light bulb.

Wednesday I mainly looked out at the blanket of snow, snug inside and marveling at the amount that had fallen.

The excited weather people pegged it at just under 6-inches and Carolina drivers were hearing about the threat of "black ice."



That shocker extended all the way down to Tallahassee, Florida so this "climate change" was for real.

I had overlooked some items left outside on the deck and saw now I had a pair of "snowshoes."

During the day, some snow melted in the sunshine but quickly re-froze at night, creating treacherous slippery patches.

This was NOT going to be a brief, chilly inconvenience.

Projected temps for the next few days were going to be below freezing.

Even to a low of 16 degrees!

My slowly dripping faucet was still keeping my pipes from freezing.

Hardy younger neighbors had never hesitated to go and romp in the snow while it was still falling.

Note the socks used as gloves!

I could hear a few cars crunching their way past my house that reminded me of the year I had lived up in Minnesota.

Hmmm, were there oleanders that far north?

After venturing out into my yard on Thursday, I listened closely to traffic conditions and decided on Friday to attend a quarterly luncheon of the Post and Courier Retirees Gang.

I called and learned the restaurant had been closed since the storm struck but had re-opened Friday morning.

A slow and careful drive to Liberty Tap Room in Mt Pleasant was uneventful. Whew.

Stepped inside and saw the Liberty staff had arranged our meeting space to accommodate the 15-20  guys who usually attended.

I saw one other retiree and, soon, two more joined us.

Instead of messing up the neat setup, we sat at a table of four and listened to staffers tell us their snow and ice stories and we shared ours.

My situation at home was fairly close to the others. We all were concerned and were careful driving.

But a few close calls were cited as other drivers drove as if there was no ice and we all agreed, right now slipping and sliding, was a fact of life.

Because I did not lose power, my home was toasty comfortable, and my cat just took it for granted.

She had no interruption of her Kibble, things looked the same for her and her cat naps were the usual 16-hours a day.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

A change in the weather did not really alter what I was doing.

I did scrape the snow and ice off my deck and shook the snow off the sheet I had placed on the larger plants.

Then, I unzipped the small clear plastic greenhouse.

I turned off the bulb that had kept it warm inside.
and was rewarded with the sight of a fresh blooming flower.

That was $50 well spent for the plants.

Below are some other random snow photos, including one when my station wagon almost disappeared during the one year I lived in Minnesota.

While living in Minnetonka, I was offered a job in the Florida Division of Tourism.

They asked if I wanted to come down and check it out.

I laughed and said I accept the job sight-unseen. No hesitation.

The job was in Florida and I had just spent a year where Winter was invented!






















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